Block Printing Basics - Design, Carve and Print Your Own Blocks for Handmade Homeware | Jessica Barrah | Skillshare

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Block Printing Basics - Design, Carve and Print Your Own Blocks for Handmade Homeware

teacher avatar Jessica Barrah, Illustrator and Printmaker

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project Overview


    • 3.

      Tools and Materials


    • 4.

      Set Up Your Printing Area


    • 5.

      Get Carving


    • 6.

      Transfer Your Design & Ink Up


    • 7.

      Playing with Shapes And Patterns


    • 8.

      Design Inspiration


    • 9.

      More About Patterns


    • 10.

      Your Final Project


    • 11.

      Conclusion and Congratulations


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About This Class

Have you ever wanted to create your own cards and wrapping paper, or create your own unique patterns for printed cushions or lampshades in your home? With this block printing class you will learn to use simple tools to quickly craft vibrant and unique designs for paper or fabric in just an hour or two. 

In this class you'll learn: 

  • How to carve and print your own beautiful lino block design  
  • Tips and tricks about how to carve and block print successfully
  • How to use the same blocks to build up more complex pattern designs. 

In the class download you'll find all the information you'll need, along with some templates to trace, just in case you need some design inspiration to set you off on your printing journey. 

Print on paper or on fabric, and share your totally handmade designs and anything you've made with it with the class. Cards, wrapping paper, printed napkins, textiles... with a few simple blocks you can hand print so many different things - and you don't need to be good a drawing or art to make something gorgeous. 

This class is for total beginners - you don’t need any prior experience at all.

In this digital world it’s nice to get away from screens, and spend a few hours doing something totally ‘hands on’. Carving and printing blocks can be a relaxing, fun and creative way to spend a few hours. It’s easy to do if you start off with something simple - and then you can develop your carving and designing skills to make something bigger or more complex.  You could start off making cards, and end up printing a whole bedspread, or even wallpaper. 

I’m passionate about patterns and printing - and as a self-taught artist, I’d love to pass on the skills I’ve learned to you. Block printing is easy, and can be quite meditative as you get into the rhythm of printing.

Step away from screens, and make your own unique designs - 

  • For your own home,
  • To give as gifts,
  • To make decorations and invitations for celebrations,
  • To sell on Etsy, or in your own website or in shops. 

Tools & Materials

For this class you'll need: 

  • Lino Carving tool(s) - you can buy inexpensive ones with different carving tips.
  • Sheet of lino/Softcut or Speedy carve block
  • Ink pads/ block printing ink or screen-printing ink.

You won't need the next three items if you're using ink pads

  • Using block printing ink - a rubber roller (also known as a brayer)
  • Using screen-printing ink, - you’ll need a softer foam roller
  • Sheet of glass (eg from an old frame) or perspex, or a plastic tray for rolling printing ink

You'll also need: 

  • A pencil, some permanent markers (optional), scissors and tracing paper.
  • A craft knife, a cutting mat if you have one, or an old board.
  • Scrap paper/fabric for practising on. 
  • Kitchen roll or old cloths for cleaning up, water and washing up liquid.
  • Paper, fabric or blank textile item (eg. bag, apron, pillow case) for printing  your final design.
  • Newspaper, or plastic sheeting for protecting your table.
  • An old blanket for cushioning if printing on fabric. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jessica Barrah

Illustrator and Printmaker

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Hello, I'm Jessica Barrah. I'm a Print maker and an illustrator. In this course I'm going to teach you how to design, carve, and print your own line of block. [MUSIC] With that skill, you'll be able to print your own cards and invitations, or print on blank fabric items such as bags, aprons, tea towels, or print on fabric to make your own items, such as clothing, purses, cushions, lampshades, duvets, anything really. I started off as a writer who then decided they wanted to illustrate their own stories. I took an evening course in graphic design and illustration and developed my style from there. I joined the Bright illustration agency, and I've illustrated a children's book and I'm working on new ones. I've had my cushions and artwork featured in magazines in the UK, and will be in the next issue of Uppercase Magazine. [MUSIC] I took an evening course in printing around three years ago, and then over the pandemic retreated to my garden shed. I've really concentrated on practicing and learning more skills on my own and from online tutorials. Three years on, I sell my designs from my own website, the online gift sites, and have started teaching small groups in my local area. I've been using digital illustration techniques and had my pattern designs digitally printed onto fabric. But I was delighted to discover that there was a way to print on fabric with liner blocks, that was so immediate without having to wait for the post, and the quality of print is so vibrant. It's also really nice to give your eyes a rest from digital screens for once. Go somewhere quiet, listen to music or an audio book, and do something so hands-on. Where do we start. First of all, we'll look at your class projects so that you know what your final aim is, and that's to design, carve, and print a block for yourself. We'll look at the tools and materials you'll need and find out how to set up your printing area. We'll get some design inspiration by looking at the world around you as well as other patterns in your home or on Pinterest. Get started carving out some simple shapes, and I'll show you how to transfer your designs onto the liner block. Then we'll start playing around with combining colors and shapes. [MUSIC] We'll look in a bit more detail at repeating patterns and a little section about printing layers, Although I'll look at that in more depth in a future class. I'll talk you through some more details about how you can print your final design, and then you should upload a photo of your final print on paper or on fabric and anything else that you've made with it. I'm so excited to be teaching this class. Having learnt so much from other artists teaching online, it's great to be passing on the skills I've learned in the same way. I can't wait to see the beautiful designs you come up with. [MUSIC] 2. Class Project Overview: [MUSIC] At the end of this class, you have a final project which is to design, carve, and print your block. You can print on paper or on fabric, or on a textile item like napkins or a tote bag. You'll then share your class project by uploading a photo of your design. If you make something with your print, then it would be great if you could share that too. How are we going to start off? I've find a file for you to download with all the resources you'll need to complete your project and everything I'll be going through in this Skillshare class. If you get lost along the way, then everything will be there to help you. There are also links to other websites or blogs that I think are really useful and inspirational. First, we'll go through the basics of using your tools, setting up your printing space, transferring the design, and carving out some shapes. Then we'll practice printing with some simple shapes. You'll start thinking about the design of your final block, sort sort of pattern that you'd like to make, if it will be on paper or on fabric, and what you'd like to make with it in the end. Then it's time for you to design your final block. You'll trace or withdraw your design onto lino and start carving your block. Then you'll cut out your block and neaten the edges. You'll do some test sprints, try out different patterns and colors. Then print your final design. You can make so many things with pattern paper and fabric. Make a whole dress and take a picture of yourself wearing it, or just wrap up a gift. It's up to you. Let's get printing. [MUSIC] 3. Tools and Materials : [MUSIC] What are you going to need to get started? I've made a list in the Class PDF Download for you to refer to. When you're starting out, you don't need to buy a lot of kit. You don't want to waste your money, you want to see if you like it first. But you'll definitely need the carving tool, some Lino and something to print with, so that's an ink pad or cheap block printing ink. Let's first look at the tool you'll need. I started off with this set here, with a handle and a few interchangeable heads and I still use it. You do need at least larger and smaller ones for carving details and clearing larger areas. Lino tools are mostly V-shaped or U-shapes. The V-shaped got sharper deeper lines, and the U-shaped ones are more shallow. A wide, larger head means the line you'll make is bigger. For the smallest details you pick the smallest head. You can get individual tools that are about 20 pounds rich, but these are the tool necessary when you're starting out. You'll also need some scissors, a pencil, some permanent marker pens will be useful, an eraser and a craft knife. Now, onto the materials. First of all, the Lino. There are different types of Lino that you can get. You can buy these from arts and crafts stores and online. Traditional Lino is usually in gray color and it's back to the hessian in fabric. You can get it in sheets cut into different sizes or very large role. I usually buy the A3 sheets, but that's for making larger Lino cuts. This Lino is quite stiff, and you can warm it up by putting it on top of the radiator for a few minutes, which makes it a bit easier to cut. Then we have Soft Cut, which surprise, is a bit softer. It feels more plasticky and you can print on both sides although one side is slightly more textured than the other. Finally, you have Speedy-Carve, which is the softest of them all. It's very springy and can be used for carving stamps. It's easier to hold and print with because it's thicker and it's fantastic if you're using with ink pads, although it is a bit more expensive than the other types of Lino. You can also use ready-made rubber stamps for printing. I've got a couple of alphabets and a few shapes. Sometimes, I use the plus and the minus in the letter O for adding more details to a pattern. As I hope you can see, the actual letters are reversed, which is something to keep in mind if you're ever designing a block incorporating letters, your block will print out the opposite way round. Keep all the off cuts of Lino to make smaller stamps for your patterns. You can also carve until it raises and one of the most useful things for printing can be a pencil with a little eraser on the top. You can use this for adding spots of color to the center of flowers or eyes onto an animal. Now, let's talk about ink. The easiest and cleanest thing would be ink pads. You can get them in lots of different colors and some ink can be used on fabric and on other surfaces. It will dry out quite easily, so always keep the lid on them when you're not using them. I really like inks for printing out test prints so that I can see where I need to carve out more without the mess. Water-based paints are good for using on paper and they wash up very easily. They do dry out as you're using them, so you'll need to work quite quickly or use more ink. Then you have the safe wash oil-based inks, which have a very good color and keep water for longer. They wash up in cold water with washing up liquid. Then you have traditional printing inks which you can clean up with oil or taps. I have a gold linseed based ink, which looks beautiful, but it does take a little more cleaning. You can get specialized inks for block printing on fabric and you can also print on fabric with screen printing ink, especially for fabric or even the normal kind. I usually get red, blue, yellow, black, and white so that I can mix up all colors. If you know you want a specific color or if you want something special like a neon or metallic color, then you can just buy a tube of that. Unless you are exclusively using ink pads, you'll also need a roller. Smaller ones are probably most useful for block printing. If you're using block printing inks, then you'll need hard rubber rollers, something to roll it out on. I use glass from old picture frames or shelf from my old fridge. You can also use Perspex or special plastic trays. You need something perfectly flat. If you're using screen printing ink or fabric block printing ink, then you'll need a softer roller. I use a small one that I originally bought for doing the edges of walls. But you can also buy specialist rollers for printing on fabric. Now, let's look at the next step. Setting up your printing area. [MUSIC] 4. Set Up Your Printing Area : [MUSIC] If you're using block printing inks or screen printing inks, you'll need enough space to put your rollers, your glass wool Perspex sheet, your rolling tray, your printing inks, and your paper and fabric. Have some kitchen paper or cloth to wipe off marks and get a few empty tubs for carrying your rollers and blocks around without getting ink everywhere. I'd also recommend wearing old clothes and/or an apron. If you're not working at an old desk like mine, which is covered in carved marks and splotches, then you'll want to protect your table or work surface. You can put down a plastic sheet or an oil cloth or layers of old newspaper. If you're printing on paper, then a hard flat surface is good. If you're printing on fabric or a tea towel apron, then you'll want to have something slightly more cushioned. If you've got an old blanket or some wadding, then put that on the bottom. Over the top, lay down something like an oil cloth or plastic tablecloth or just an old sheet that you don't mind getting stained. You should also make sure that your fabric is as flat as it can be. Iron it before laying it down. You could clip it or tape it or put something heavy on the corners to keep it flat and stop it shifting around or wrinkling up. If you're printing on a tote bag or something that has another side underneath like a pillowcase or a cushion cover, then you'll want to protect the other side and stop ink leaking through. You can put a board or thick piece of cardboard inside it and to make the area softer, cover that board with an old tea towel or towel. Experiment to see what works best for you. Inking up your block. If you're using ink pads, then you can either apply the block to the pads or the pad onto the block. It depends on the size of your block or little stamp and the size of your pad as to which is more convenient. When you're making larger liner cuts, you usually press the paper onto the top and burnish it with a spoon or Barron. But for block printing, you'd go the other way and press the block down onto the paper or fabric. When you first use a new ink pad, it can be quite wet, so it could smear little. Then after a while it will be perfect. Then after using it for a bit more, it will get too dry and you'll have to really press it hard to get the ink out. Remember to put the lid back on top as much as possible to stop it drying out. If you're using block printing inks, then you'll roll out your ink on your flat surface with a rubber roller. In time, you'll know how much is best to squeeze out. But it's probably better to start with too little rather than too much, and then you can always add more ink. If you use too much, then you blocks gets sticky and splotchy. If you want to mix up your inks to make colors, then you can do that directly on the glass. Roll it back and forth, mixing in the colors to one uniform color with no streaks. Keep going until you hear it making a little noise like [NOISE] and you'll see tiny little peaks raised up. Then you're ready to ink your block. Just do it lightly, you don't need to press hard. Lift up the roller as you go, making sure each part is covered with an even amount of ink going over it a few times to make sure. If you're using screen printing ink, you'll be using a softer roller. Again, rolling it out on your flat glass or plastic surface. Screen printing ink will feel a lot wetter than block printing ink. If you try and roll out with a hard rubber roller, it just slides all over the place. Again, you'll want to get your ink rolled out in an even layer. Again, you can mix up the colors on the glass or you can mix them up before in a small bottle jar and keep them with a lid on if you wanted to use that color later. If you have tiny details like this tiny heart, then I'll press the stamp onto the roller using it more like an ink pad, as it would be ridiculous to try and roll over something so small. Then you're ready to start printing. [MUSIC] 5. Get Carving : Before you design your final block, it's good to get acquainted with the tools and techniques you'll be using. You'll find out what is and what isn't possible and what kind of design suit this kind of printing. First of all, let's take a look at the carving tools. As I mentioned before in the tools and materials section, carving tools are U and V-shaped, and the larger the head, the larger the mark you'll make. This is a flat tool which is used for clearing larger areas. Then we have the largest U-shaped tool that I have, this is also good for making circular marks. You dig in the tool and twist it all the way around then take out the little round bit that you've carved out. The other heads on the mat are slightly smaller U-shaped and a small V-shaped tool. This is a large V-shaped tool. As I mentioned, you don't need to buy a separate tool like this when you're starting out, but this one is good for making deep gouges and on traditional lino, great for triangular marks as it snaps off easily. To do that, you dig it in and then upwards. Hopefully you could feel what I mean if you try it yourself. On soft carve and speedy carve, you can still make those kinds of marks, but as it's more spongy, it doesn't snap off in the same way. Try making some marks to get the hang of it. Draw some shapes on the edge of your lino. Don't join the middle as you might want to use a larger bit later on and you don't want to waste it. Carve out something simple like a leaf or a star, a flower, a circle, then you might like to add some details, for example, lines on the leaf. Here I am trying out a leaf shape on the three different types of lino. The gray lino needs the most pressure, and this pink speedy curve is the easiest to cut through. Remember, carve away from your hand and keep your other hand out of the way. Whatever you cut will not print ink and so you generally have to think about your design in reverse. Sometimes that can be difficult to visualize, so here's a few tips. Imagine your whole shape is filled in with color, where would you carve your details? Make sure that the parts you carve away are thick enough to print out clearly. I often try out with an ink pad where you can color in your shape with a permanent marker so that you can more easily see where you're cutting and the effect it has. Next, cut out your block with a craft knife or you can use strong scissors. If you've made a very tiny block, you can stick it onto something else to make it easier to handle. I've got some small pieces of balsa wood or sometimes I stick tiny stamps on the end of a pencil or dowling rod. You can also stick larger pieces onto off cuts of wood or MDF to keep your hands cleaner away from the ink. Here I've stuck a liner block onto an old board because I had changed the original design, chopped off the face, which wasn't printing very well, and stuck on a new one. You can also use clear Perspex, which is good because you can see through it and position the block exactly where you need it. I usually use it just as it is. Next, you're going to start printing and playing around with some patterns and shapes. 6. Transfer Your Design & Ink Up: You can draw directly on your block if your design is very simple, or you can trace your design. Here, I've already cut out my horse-shaped block, but I've decided that I want to carve out more details. I trace my horse design from the printout sheet, and now I'm going to flip it over. I've used a soft art pencil so that it transfers easily. I think this one is about a 6B. I flipped over the tracing paper and now I'm rubbing it with the handle of my carving tool. You could use the handle or the edge of a spoon as well or anything really with a hard edge. I like this way of transferring the design because it automatically reverses it for you. [MUSIC] If you had letters on the design, they would reverse on the liner and print out the right way when you ink and print your block. Another way is to put dark pencil on the back of the tracing paper and then draw over the lines again. That way the image will not be reversed. I find it a bit smudgy, and the other way is quicker. You can draw over the lines you made on the liner with a permanent marker pen if you like, that the lines are clearer and won't rub off. [MUSIC] I carved out the flowers, as you can see on the bottom right of this picture. But in the end, I decided to make a less detailed horse and another to contrast in a scallop shape. I rolled out the ink and then applied it evenly to the positive and negative horse shapes. You need to make sure that the whole block is inked. Go over it a few times just to make sure. Then turnover and place it on your paper. Here, I've been unusually organized and drawn where I want my first shape to go in an attempt to make the print line up in the middle of the page. Here I'm printing on a role of plain lining paper which goes on the wallpaper. It's inexpensive but it's quite textured. It isn't as clean and crisp a print if you compare it to the one printed on smooth thin computer paper. Despite my best efforts, it's not perfectly aligned either but this was my first go with this print. Here I'm rolling over the print with a clean larger roller. I would usually put it down and press with the back of my hands or even with my fingers if it's a smaller shape. As it was quite large, I found that the roller help press down all the edges. However, it did sometimes rocked my block around which smudged it a bit. I hope you're now ready to print out some simple designs. We'll go into slightly more complicated designs like these horses later. But to start, we'll look at how to cut out and carve into some simple shapes. [MUSIC] 7. Playing with Shapes And Patterns: Let's get started with printing. Just play around on some scrap paper to start off with. In the class PDF there's a sheet of simple shapes. If you have a printer, you can print them out and trace them, then transfer them to your liner. Feel free to make your own designs, transfer them and cut them out. I would usually cover around the shapes to establish the boundary. Curve in a few marks and then cut them out with a knife or scissors. Don't make them too tiny as then they're harder to hold in your hand when you're printing. Then either use some ink pads, or roll out some color on your smooth glass or perspex surface, and roll some ink on your shapes and start printing. Experiment with different papers. You can also print on different colored papers to see how the same ink looks on different backgrounds. Here you can see that the circle hasn't come out very well, so I've printed over again. This time it's a lot darker and clearer. If you have different colorings, try out different colors and combinations of shapes. You can buy inks in starter pack, so that you get a variety to try out. Make sure you use a different roller for each color or wash your roller in-between. You can also get a collection of tiny ink pads to play around with. These ones are only for paper. I wouldn't use them for printing on fabric. You can overprint to create different effects, adding spots of color with smaller stamps or you can just use one color and that can still be very effective. Here, I've used green to print out the peak port block. That inspired me to think about doing a print with more simplified vegetable shapes. I just cut out a rough carrot shape to see what it might look like. Have fun with experimenting. Nothing too difficult at this stage. 8. Design Inspiration: [MUSIC] I totally love patterns and you can find them everywhere around my house. These patterns can be the start of inspiration for more block prints. It doesn't matter where they are, on mugs, plates, or utensils in my kitchen. There's inspiration all around, in the garden, in the landscape, on the street with the shapes of houses, cars, planes, and trains. Hopefully this section we'll get you looking around and seeing that almost anything can be inspiration for a repeating print. Another thing I can't get enough of is Pinterest. It's a great way to collect together a digital scrapbook. In the class PDF, I've shared my own Pinterest boards for liner cut, fabric stamping, patterns, and prints, which I hope can be another source of inspiration for designing your own print block. Don't copy other artists. But for example, if they've done a block print of tiny houses, you could do that too, but just do it in your own way. A great inspiration into a few different categories. First of all, we'll look at florals. Floral designs are ever popular all over the world. A block printing is very good for the simple shapes of more focused by designs. They're bold and quite graphic in impact without being hard-edged. They can be a bit splotchy and that's part of the charm. Here we have one of my favorite mugs and a selection of ceramics with floral patterns. Very simple designs with the flavor of different countries, Spain, Morocco, India, and then some more Scandinavian designs. So we come to geometric. Geometric shapes like circles, triangles, diamonds, squares, and more irregular shapes. You can combine them together to make different patterns and borders, or curve them to the shape itself to have more pattern and color and texture. Moving through polka dots circles, a more circles and lines with this polish pottery teapot. Although the scallop pattern is slogging, it's still quite regular. Again, the shapes in this mug are regular, even if the way they've been applied is uneven and different each time. Triangles on this pot plant look like a cross between a chevron on a leaf or palm design. You can be inspired by star-shaped post-it notes or a radiator cover with cutout designs. I like the way that the white color shows through the center of this diamond shape, with rays playing out, and then more diamonds on a packet of stores. As we've already seen floral shapes can be stylized. In nature, there's a lot of symmetry in geometry. Look at the shapes on the inside of this chili and the center of these prima leaves. Is good just star shapes. We can be directly inspired by the shape and arrangement of petals, by the symmetry of leaves, and you can make designs in a realistic way. It depends on the front, for example, a realistic-looking peony is more detailed to reproduce than a simplified daisy , but you can still do it. I loved the way ivy leaves look, and the senior shapes here on the fence. You could develop a print like this and use the ivy leaf tendrils rotating around each time you print and snaking through other flowers in your design. I've taken a fairly realistic sketch of a snowdrop, and instead of stylizing the actual flower, I've decided to make the pattern by using symmetrical reflections. First of all, I use black and white for Art Nouveau look, the back-to-back snowdrops have a space in the middle, which I think about filling with another flower, or maybe a circle. Then I decided I wanted it to be just green and white instead of black and white. You can make your design less realistic, more stylized, and geometric, making sure, for example, that each side moves the other. One easy way to do that is by cutting out the design on a folded piece of paper and then opening it out and drawing around it. Here, I'm trying out stylized daffodils and the illustration app, Procreate. I've decided they look too fussy, so I'll go for something cleaner and more simplified. Sure, I have some detailed shadow on the leaf. No, I've decided it looks better plain, so I just copy each daffodil so they look exactly the same. Now, we come to animals. I love using animals in my liner prints and block printing too. But when I've tried to do realistic-looking cats, there have been some disasters. It's much easier to use a strong sideways silhouette of an animal. If you're not happy drawing your own shapes, then you can always find these on the Internet. I tend to use fairly realistic-looking animals, simplified so that they can be easily recognized when printed in just one color. For example, with just the eye showing or some little details of fur and markings and a line to show where their leg is. Well, in the same way, that flowers can be stylized, animals can also become more decorative and less true to life, or make more like a collection of geometric shapes. In the first picture on the left, the birds are quite realistic shapes, but the colors in the team lines make it more graphic. The next owl is more decorative, not at all true to life, and the third one is very minimal, but it certainly makes an impact and you can still recognize it as an owl. Simplifying shapes can really help when making blueprints. You don't want something overly detailed and intricate, especially when you're just starting out. I don't tend to use as many man-made shapes in my own work. I don't know why. I think I generally like natural shapes, flowers, and things with faces. Maybe because I'm not great at making accurate straight lines. Houses, churches, temples, skylines, cars, buses, can vans, trains, bikes, one of these could make fantastic and graphic prints. I hope that helps you get thinking about your own design for your footprint. Have a look around your own home to see if there's any prints you have. Look on the Internet or in magazines. Doodle some ideas on a piece of paper or cut out some simple shapes and play around just to have fun [MUSIC] 9. More About Patterns: [MUSIC] More about patterns. In the previous section, we saw how you can combine shapes, overprint, and make patterns with different simpler shapes in one color or in lots of different colors. But now, let's dive deeper into the wonderful world of patterns. [MUSIC] You could put your block down anywhere on your paper and then the next time, turn your block around so it's facing in a different direction. This is called a random repeat or a toss. As though you've tossed all your shapes up in the air and they've just fallen as they want. You probably don't want to have it totally random it's better to space things out a bit. A flower or leaf design could be good for this kind of pattern, giving it a natural look. You could do this with just one block, as I've done here with the leaf, or again with this rabbit, it looks like it's sleeping all over the place. The good thing about this random pattern is that if you've printed it on fabric, you can use it in any direction. You won't have to worry which way is up, down, left or right. [MUSIC] Here's the leaf print that I made, but this time I overprinted with yellow ink to give an autumnal look like a pile of overlapping leaves. Usually, it would be better to print the lighter color, the yellow, followed by the darker one. [MUSIC] Tiled repeat, a tiled repeat is probably the easiest one to recognize. Everything is lined up side-by-side in a grid system, like square tiles on a wall. [MUSIC] You can print it out by eye like I'm doing here with the chew lips or if you want to be more accurate, you could measure it out. It's always useful to have a straight edge at the top. You could use a ruler to keep it straight or you could put markers with tape or measure out little marks with pencil or Tailor's chalk at the side of your paper or fabric. [MUSIC] A brick repeat is like the way bricks are placed on a brick wall, with the second layer offset by a half brick to give a stack would look horizontally. [MUSIC] Half drop, a half drop repeat is very similar to a brick repeat, but this time you drop down vertically instead of horizontally. Instead of going across, the first line would be vertical, and then the next row drops down by half, and then the next row is back on the same level as the first one. [MUSIC] In many patterns, you might like to add extra details with smallest stamps, perhaps in a contrasting color. Here, I'm adding green dots with the eraser on the end of my pencil. You could carve out a tiny shape, for example, on this robot, a small triangle for the nose. On this horse sprint, I've added a small saddle which you could print in different contrasting colors. Other options to make print slightly different might be printing on different color paper or fabric. You might have to experiment with different inks and papers or fabric colors to see what will show up best. You can also print with screen printing or block printing white ink on dark. [MUSIC] Tessellating shapes. Think about a patchwork quilt, the fabric pieces are often made up of hexagons, triangles, diamonds, or squares. All those shapes fit together well to make a block pattern. You could make a block in the shape of one of those geometric shapes and carve out details. I especially like contrast of light and dark within a shape, which adds so much interest, even if you're only printing in one color. This bird design is basically inside a diamond, which I've divided into two halves, light and dark. I like to do that so that when they meet there's a contrast. The light section meets up with the dark section and that delineates the edge. You don't need to have a line showing the edge is light because it's created by being next to the dark one. [MUSIC] I've used that same principle here in this leaf design. The light half has vein marks that are dark. I've carved out everything inside the leaf on that half, leaving just those vein marks, and then on the other side, I've left everything just carving out the outer edges and those vein marks. I'll be making another class about how to create your own irregular tessellating shapes, by these lizards in the future. When I talked about design inspiration, I showed you this cushion, where there are a few layers of color and the dark outline of this flower will be added as the last color. Generally, we've been thinking about blocks where the main part of the shape will be filled in with color and parts just carved out to add details. But now we're going to think about blocks that might be more linear, where you've carved out a lot of the liner to leave the outline. Like here, where Elvis' jumpsuit has been mainly carved out so that it would print out white. [MUSIC] You could add another block of color underneath. This ivy leaf would print out like a solid block of color. But in contrast, this flower that I've started carving would just be an outline. It's still a bit messy, I need to cover out a little bit more in the middle. I'm just rubbing out the image in the Procreate app for speed to show you how it would be done. Faking it up. Then I could make another block more solid like the ivy leaf, the same shape as the flower. Here it is printed in orange. Then when it was dry, I'd add the outline on top and a darker or contrasting color. After all that information, which will also be in your class download, it's time for you to get printing your final project. [MUSIC] 10. Your Final Project: Now it's time to get started on your final project. This time I want you to design and carve a block or a set of blocks and then print them on paper or on fabric or on a blank fabric item. You can use lots of simple blocks or one or two slightly more complicated ones. You can print on paper or on fabric. You can use just one color or lots of different ones. Plan out your design before you start making sure you take into consideration the size of paper or fabric that you're going to be printing on, and how you're going to arrange your blocks. For example, on this cushion cover, there are three hearts down the middle. If you're planning on making something specific, then think about the size of the final item and where it would be most important for the whole block to show. If you're making something small, then use smaller blocks, if you're planning on printing a bedspread, it's probably better to make your block on the larger side or you'll be printing for a very long time. Practice on scrap pieces of paper and fabric first, it's sometimes takes a few goes for the block to print well. At first there can be too much ink on the block and then it will go splotchy and you'll lose the details. Keep your hands as clean as possible. This is a bit of a do as I say, and not as I do. Use things like rulers marking tape, marks or jig to keep you straight if you're doing irregularly spaced pattern, so it doesn't end up going to wonky. If you're printing on fabric, check the manufacturer's instructions about setting the print before washing. Often you'll need to iron the back of the fabric, but not directly onto the ink. You can print on fabric with some oil-based ink such as Caligo Safe Wash, but they need to be dry first and this can take some time. If you're intending making something like a lamp shade, then it won't need to be so color fast as you won't be wearing it or putting it in the washing machine. I'm really excited to see what you come up with. Remember, to upload a picture of your design and anything you've made to the class project page. Good luck. 11. Conclusion and Congratulations : [MUSIC] We've come to the end of the class. Congratulations on finishing your project and uploading it to the class page. I hope that you enjoyed it and that you're proud of what you made. I also hope that this isn't the last time that you use your new skills. To recap, in this block printing basics class, we've learned all about the tools and materials you can use and the different options for carving and printing. [MUSIC] Then, we looked at how to set up your print area and ink your block, the ink pads, block printing ink and screen printing ink. We've learnt about the different types of carving tools and the different kinds of liner blocks and how to curve into them. We've learnt how to transfer designs onto tracing paper, how to ink your block and press your design onto paper or onto fabric. We've had a go at carving some simple shapes and printing them in one or more colors and seeing how you can combine shapes together in different ways. We've thought about how design inspiration can be all around you, as well as on Pinterest and other social media sites. We've learnt about pattern formations and printing outlines and I've guided you through what you need to do for your final project. I'm really looking forward to seeing your final designs and anything you've made with your print uploaded to the class project page. Block printing can sometimes be frustrating. You can never get it absolutely perfect with no smudges. But that just makes it a handmade, imperfectly perfect. I've scanned liner prints and had them printed out digitally. But it's never quite the same as the real thing. There's a beauty to seeing the physical layer of ink, the variation of your hand pressure, making it print out slightly differently each time you press down, giving a great sense of energy to the print. I hope that you keep experimenting with block printing and enjoy it as much as I do. Remember, if you feel you've missed anything, I've put lots of information as well as some templates for liner blocks in the class download. So do have a look at that. If you're still unsure or confused about anything, then do get in touch with me via Skillshare and I'll be happy to try and help. Please do leave a review and follow my profile on Skillshare if you liked this class. [MUSIC] There's something wonderful about the immediacy of block printing. You can have an idea in the morning, carve out your block and then have a new tablecloth, lamp shade or cushion in the afternoon. All that's left for me to say is, happy printing.